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Two millennia of Jewish persecution

Anti-Judaism: 70 TO 1200 CE

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Persecution of Jews by Roman Pagans:

bullet70: The Roman Army destroyed Jerusalem, killed over 1 million Jews, took about 100,000 into slavery and captivity, and scattered many from Palestine to other locations in the Roman Empire.
 
bullet Circa 115 -117: Jews in Cyprus, Cyrene, Egypt and parts of Mesopotamia revolted against the Roman Empire in what is known as the Kitos War. This caused the death of several hundreds of thousands of Romans and Jews. The Roman Legions eventually crushed the rebellions. 1
 
bullet132: Bar Kochba led a hopeless three-year revolt against the Roman Empire. Many Jews had accepted him as the Messiah. About a half-million Jews were killed; thousands were sold into slavery or taken into captivity.  The rest were exiled from Palestine and scattered throughout the known world, adding to what is now called the "Diaspora." Judaism was no longer recognized as a legal religion. 2
 
bullet135: Serious Roman persecution of the Jews began. They were forbidden, upon pain of death, from practicing circumcision, reading the Torah, eating unleavened bread at Passover, etc. A temple dedicated to the Roman pagan god Jupiter was erected on temple mountain in Jerusalem. A temple of Venus was built on Golgotha, just outside the city.
 
bullet200: Roman Emperor Severus forbade religious conversions to Judaism.

Persecution of Jews by Christians:

Initial persecution of Jews was along religious lines. Persecution would cease if the person converted to Christianity.

bullet306: The church Synod of Elvira banned marriages, sexual intercourse and community contacts between Christians and Jews. 3,4
 
bullet315: Constantine published the Edict of Milan which extended religious tolerance to Christians. Jews lost many rights with this edict. They were no longer permitted to live in Jerusalem, or to proselytize.
 
bullet325: The Council of Nicea decided to separate the celebration of Easter from the Jewish Passover. They stated: "For it is unbecoming beyond measure that on this holiest of festivals we should follow the customs of the Jews. Henceforth let us have nothing in common with this odious people...We ought not, therefore, to have anything in common with the Jews...our worship follows a...more convenient course...we desire dearest brethren, to separate ourselves from the detestable company of the Jews...How, then, could we follow these Jews, who are almost certainly blinded."
 
bullet337: Christian Emperor Constantius created a law which made the marriage of a Jewish man to a Christian punishable by death.
 
bullet339: Converting to Judaism became a criminal offense.
 
bullet343-381: The Laodicean Synod approved Cannon XXXVIII: "It is not lawful [for Christians] to receive unleavened bread from the Jews, nor to be partakers of their impiety." 5
 
bullet367 - 376: St. Hilary of Poitiers referred to Jews as a perverse people who God has cursed forever. St. Ephroem refers to synagogues as brothels.
 
bullet379-395: Emperor Theodosius the Great permitted the destruction of synagogues if it served a religious purpose. Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire at this time.
 
bullet380: The bishop of Milan was responsible for the burning of a synagogue; he referred to it as "an act pleasing to God."
 
bullet415: The Bishop of Alexandria, St. Cyril, expelled the Jews from that Egyptian city.
 
bullet415: St. Augustine wrote "The true image of the Hebrew is Judas Iscariot, who sells the Lord for silver. The Jew can never understand the Scriptures and forever will bear the guilt for the death of Jesus."
 
bullet418: St. Jerome, who created the Vulgate translation of the Bible wrote of a synagogue: "If you call it a brothel, a den of vice, the Devil's refuge, Satan's fortress, a place to deprave the soul, an abyss of every conceivable disaster or whatever you will, you are still saying less than it deserves."
 
bullet489 - 519: Christian mobs destroyed the synagogues in Antioch, Daphne (near Antioch) and Ravenna.
 
bullet528: Emperor Justinian (527-564) passed the Justinian Code. It prohibited Jews from building synagogues, reading the Bible in Hebrew, assemble in public, celebrate Passover before Easter, and testify against Christians in court. 3
 
bullet535: The "Synod of Claremont decreed that Jews could not hold public office or have authority over Christians." 3
 
bullet538: The 3rd and 4th Councils of Orleans prohibited Jews from appearing in public during the Easter season. Canon XXX decreed that "From the Thursday before Easter for four days, Jews may not appear in the company of Christians." 5 Marriages between Christians and Jews were prohibited. Christians were prohibited from converting to Judaism. 4
 
bullet561: The bishop of Uzes expelled Jews from his diocese in France.

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bullet612: Jews were not allowed to own land, to be farmers or enter certain trades.
 
bullet613: Very serious persecution began in Spain. Jews were given the options of either leaving Spain or converting to Christianity. Jewish children over 6 years of age were taken from their parents and given a Christian education
 
bullet692: Cannnon II of the Quinisext Council stated: "Let no one in the priestly order nor any layman eat the unleavened bread of the Jews, nor have any familiar intercourse with them, nor summon them in illness, nor receive medicines from them, nor bathe with them; but if anyone shall take in hand to do so, if he is a cleric, let him be deposed, but if a layman, let him be cut off." 5
 
bullet694: The 17th Church Council of Toledo, Spain defined Jews as the serfs of the prince. This was based, in part, on the beliefs by Chrysostom, Origen, Jerome, and other Church Fathers that God punished the Jews with perpetual slavery because of their alleged responsibility for the execution of Jesus. 5
 
bullet722: Leo III outlawed Judaism. Jews were baptized against their will.
 
bullet855: Jews were exiled from Italy.
 
bullet1050: The Synod of Narbonne prohibited Christians from living in the homes of Jews.
 
bullet1078: "Pope Gregory VII decreed that Jews could not hold office or be superiors to Christians." 6
 
bullet1078: The Synod of Gerona forced Jews to pay church taxes.
 
bullet1096: The First Crusade was launched in this year. Although the prime goal of the crusades was to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims, Jews were a second target. As the soldiers passed through Europe on the way to the Holy Land, large numbers of Jews were challenged: "Christ-killers, embrace the Cross or die!" 12,000 Jews in the Rhine Valley alone were killed in the first Crusade. This behavior continued for 8 additional crusades until the 9th in 1272.
 
bullet1099: The Crusaders forced all of the Jews of Jerusalem into a central synagogue and set it on fire. Those who tried to escape were forced back into the burning building.
 
bullet1121: Jews were exiled from Flanders (now part of present-day Belgium)
 
bullet1130: Some Jews in London allegedly killed a sick man. The Jewish people in the city were required to pay 1 million marks as compensation.
 
bullet1146: The Second Crusade began. A French Monk, Rudolf, called for the destruction of the Jews.
 
bullet1179: Canon 24 of the Third Lateran Council stated: "Jews should be slaves to Christians and at the same time treated kindly due of humanitarian considerations." Canon 26 stated that "the testimony of Christians against Jews is to be preferred in all causes where they use their own witnesses against Christians." 7
 
bullet1180: The French King of France, Philip Augustus, arbitrarily seized all Jewish property and expelled the Jews from the country. There was no legal justification for this action. They were allowed to sell all movable possessions, but their land and houses were stolen by the king.
 
bullet1189: Jews were persecuted in England. The Crown claimed all Jewish possessions. Most of their houses were burned.

References:

  1. "Kitos War," Wikipedia, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  2. Randy Felton, "Anti-Semitism and the Church," at: http://www.haydid.org/
  3. Fritz B. Voll, "A Short Review of a Troubled History," at: http://www.jcrelations.com/
  4. "Classical and Christian Anti-Semitism," at http://www.virtualjerusalem.co.il/
  5. Max Solbrekken, "The Jews & Jesus: Mistreatment of Jews: Christian shame," at: http://www.mswm.org/
  6. Fritz B. Voll, "A Short Review of a Troubled History," at: http://www.jcrelations.com/
  7. Bob Michael, "Jews as Serfs," at: http://www.uni-heidelberg.de/

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Copyright © 1997 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2010-FEB-07
Author: B.A. Robinson

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